Exclusive: UAE-based Pakistani umpire reveals birthday boy Tendulkar's love for ‘paratha omelette sandwich’

Did you know? Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who is celebrating his 50th birthday today, hit seven one-day centuries in Sharjah

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Sachin Tendulkar and Tariq Butt
Sachin Tendulkar and Tariq Butt

Published: Mon 24 Apr 2023, 4:54 PM

India’s die-hard cricket fans know how Sachin Tendulkar, who is celebrating his 50th birthday today, enjoys having a ‘vada pav’, the popular Maharashtrian vegetarian snack, every day.

But few people know how Sachin fell in love with the ‘paratha omelette sandwich’, a popular snack for the Kerala community in the UAE.


Remarkably, the man who introduced Sachin to the snack was a Pakistani.

Tariq Butt, UAE's veteran cricket umpire, worked as a match official for more than two decades at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium where Tendulkar played 42 one-day matches for India and hit seven centuries.


"I can't remember which year it was, but I brought some paratha omelette sandwich for Sachin during one of the tournaments those days in Sharjah. He loved it so much and he wanted to have it every day for breakfast," Butt said.

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A former first-class cricketer in Pakistan, Butt had to bring omelette sandwich for Tendulkar every time the Indian team was in Sharjah for a tournament.

"Few years ago, Sachin met someone in London who had worked at the Sharjah Stadium in the past. The first thing Sachin asked him was: "Oh, you are from Sharjah, how's Mr Butt?"

"You know I almost had tears in my eyes when my friend told me this. For such a big cricketer to remember someone like me after all these years is incredible."

For someone who fled from Pakistan in 1977 fearing political persecution, Butt went on to share a bond with several iconic cricketers during Sharjah cricket's glory days.

But it's Sachin that still holds a special place in his heart.

"I came to Dubai because I feared for my life in Pakistan due to my affiliations with Pakistan People's Party. Those were dark days in Pakistan politics," Butt recalled.

"But l was lucky that I got a new life in the UAE and got involved with cricket, my first love.

"And meeting Sachin and knowing the person behind the cricketer, is something I will always cherish in my life."


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